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Food Insecurity and the Risk of Obesity, Depression, and Self-Rated Health in Women (Women’s Health Report)

By Sydney K. Willis,1,* Sara E. Simonsen,2 Rachael B. Hemmert,2 Jami Baayd,2 Kathleen B. Digre,3 and Cathleen D. Zick4. Women’s Health Reports Volume 1.1, 2020 DOI: 10.1089/whr.2020.0049 Accepted May 21, 2020.

Abstract Background/Introduction/Objective:

Recent studies have shown that food insecurity is associated with obe- sity, depression, and other adverse health outcomes although little research has been focused on these relation- ships in underrepresented cultural and social groups. In this study we elucidate the relationship between food insecurity, community factors, dietary patterns, race/ethnicity and health among underrepresented women.

Materials and Methods: The data for this investigation come from a cross-sectional survey of women drawn from five urban Utah communities of color, including African immigrants/refugees, African Americans, Hispanics, American Indians/Alaska Natives, and Pacific Islanders, and women from four rural Utah counties. Multivariate logistic regression was used to assess the relationship between food insecurity and obesity risk, self-reported depression, and self-assessed health.

Results: Urban women of color were more likely to report food insecurity than rural non-Hispanic white women. Obesity and depression scores were positively associated with food insecurity.

Conclusions: Utah women of color had higher levels of food insecurity than reported in state or national data, highlight an important disparity. Nutritional education initiatives, evaluating food assistance programs, and screenings in clinical settings targeting specific racial/ethnic groups may help address the disparities observed in this study. Keywords: depression; food insecurity; obesity; self-rated health.

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